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Las Vegas Grand Prix damages in ‘millions,’ Ellis Island attorney claims

Updated May 21, 2024 - 1:30 pm

The owners of Ellis Island are out millions of dollars due to the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, according to an attorney representing the off-Strip property in a lawsuit regarding the event.

A lawsuit filed on April 30 by Ellis Island’s owners is seeking damages greater than $50,000 tied to financial losses caused by the Formula One race, according to court records. Attorney J. Randall Jones, of the Kemp-Jones law firm who is representing the hotel-casino, didn’t provide an exact amount being sought in the case, but he said the property incurred substantial losses due to last November’s race.

“To the extent it matters at this point, Ellis Island’s damages to date are already in the millions of dollars,” Jones said in an email Saturday to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “F1 is planning on holding its race every year for the next 9 years, which will continue to cause Ellis Island significant economic losses in the future.”

Last year, Clark County commissioners recognized the grand prix as an annual event for at least 10 years. The approval didn’t contractually guarantee the race would occur each year, but it allows for various ordinances to be waived without additional meetings, as long as the race is held the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority entered into a three-year agreement with Liberty Media, F1’s parent company, to host the race through at least 2025. The LVCVA pays Liberty Media $6.5 million per year to put on the race, with both sides expressing hope to hold the race beyond the initial three-year agreement.

Access issues alleged by Ellis Island

The lawsuit claims the race impeded access to Ellis Island’s property both during the race and during several months of setup and tear down for the event. The issue kept both employees and customers from accessing the property on Koval Lane near the Grand Prix Plaza, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit also takes issues with how the race and the 3.8-mile circuit, mainly consisting of public right-of-way, was approved without event organizers having to file for a special use permit. It also takes issue with Formula One advertising the 2024 race before the county held a briefing on the 2023 race.

Clark County spokeswoman Jennifer Cooper said Tuesday that the county is unable to comment on pending litigation.

Grand prix officials submitted a traffic plan this month to the county for the 2024 race, which will detail the traffic plan related to the set up take down of the race’s circuit and race week itself. When that will be publicly available has yet to be determined, Cooper said.

“Public Works continues to review and edit the traffic plan for this year’s race and we plan to make that available as soon as the department’s review is complete,” Cooper said in an email. “I don’t yet know what the timeline is for BCC (Board of Clark County Commissioners) discussions.”

Separate petition aims to stop 2024 race

The lawsuit comes as a group of local business owners created a petition aimed at trying to stop the 2024 race, planned for Nov. 21-23. Six business owners with establishments near Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, where a massive temporary bridge was constructed for last year’s race, also claim they lost millions in revenue due to the grand prix.

Since being launched on May 3 online at Change.org, the petition has garnered over 2,500 signatures. Of those that signed the petition, 70 percent of them are from the Las Vegas Valley, according to Change.org.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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